7 Popular Celebrities With Terribly Tragic Pasts

Everyone has suffered tragedies, but it’s inspiring to see celebrities rise above troubled and tragic histories. These seven celebrities have undergone some particularly painful and crippling events, yet they still have managed to capture the hearts of millions.

7. 50 Cent

Curtis Jackson is known as the rapper 50 Cent. He started out in the underground, but most of the world didn’t know he existed until his first single “Wanksta” released on Eminem’s 8 Mile. As a young child, he was raised by his grandmother who took care of 9 other children. He began spending a lot of time on the streets, and by the age of 12, he was already a drug dealer. At the age of 15, he was one of the biggest drug dealers in the area and dropped out of high school, but that all ended when he was sent to correctional boot camp after being arrested. Jackson has said that this inspired him to change and build his music career rather than sell drugs. Later, he would go through feuds and even survive a shooting in 2001 before finally catching his big break.

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6. Jennifer Hudson

Most know the bright-eyed, vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson from her breakthrough on American Idol and acting in Dreamgirls. Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, life wasn’t easy. Jennifer’s father died in 1999 when the budding starlet was just 18 years old. It would seem that her fame could not stop further tragedy when she learned that her mother Darnell Donerson was sick. She stopped her publicity tour for The Secret Life of Bees to go home. In that same year, more tragedy would befall the Hudsonfamily. On October 24th, 2008, Darnell and Jennifer’s brother Jason were found in their Englewood home. They had been fatally shot, and her 7-year-old nephew Julian was missing. He was later found shot in the head in Jason’s stolen SUV. The devastation of these events led to the creation of The Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims. It would not be until February 2009 when Jennifer would return to the limelight to sing the Star-Spangled Banner for Super Bowl XLIII.

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5. Liam Neeson

The Irish-born actor has been in several movies based on tragedy such as Schindler’s List and The Grey, but Neeson has suffered greatly in his personal life. In 2000, he suffered a near fatal motorcycle accident and spent weeks in recovery, but that doesn’t compare to losing his wife and noted actress Natasha Richardson in 2009 after a minor ski accident. Richardson had suffered a head injury at the time of the accident, but she declined medical attention. She later complained of a headache and died the next day from head trauma.

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4. Shania Twain

Shania Twain is no stranger to challenges. The crossover country star began performing at the age of 8, and by the time she was 30, she was known as a renegade in the country music world. Despite the criticism of her music and fashion choices, Shania never bat an eyelash. Maybe it’s because she faced real hardship in 1987 when both of her parents died in a car crash. She stopped her budding music career to take care of her younger siblings and started singing and dancing at Ontario’s Deerhurst Resort instead. Those performances taught her more about her showmanship and developed her stage presence, which would come in handy when she was noticed by Robert “Mutt” Lange, a rock producer who had helped AC/DC, Def Leppard and Bryan Adams to fame and glory. She would later marry Mutt and have a child with him, only to find out years into their relationship that he was cheating on her with her best friend at the time.

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3. Charlize Theron

Over the years, the statuesque Charlize Theron has captured many audiences with her performances in Monster, Sweet November and North Country. Theron grew up in South Africa where it was not uncommon to own a firearm. Unfortunately, the popularity of firearms and her family’s tragedy led to a fear of guns. Theron’s father was an alcoholic who had a history of verbal abuse. One night after drinking, he returned home and began shouting that he was going to kill Charlize and her mother who were in the bedroom together. He began shooting through the door at the two of them, and Charlize’s mother grabbed a handgun and fired back killing Charlize’s father and wounding her brother. Her mother did not face prosecution as she had acted in self defense, but the tragedy of that night continues to be felt by Charlize who says that she wears that memory like a tattoo on her heart.

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2. Kelsey Grammer

While you may know him best as the snooty Dr. Frasier Crane, Kelsey Grammer is an actor who has overcome multiple tragedies in his personal life. As a child of divorce, Kelsey lived with his mother and grandfather. At the age of 11, Kelsey’s grandfather died. Two years later, his father would be shot after his car was set on fire by Arthur B. Niles, who was found not guilty of the murder due to insanity and was sentenced to a psychiatric ward instead. While this alone is enough to change a person’s life, he would lose another family member at the age of 20 when his sister Karen was brutally raped and murdered. Kelsey had to identify the body as police did not know who she was. In 1980, Grammer’s half brothers Stephen and Billy would also die unexpectedly while scuba diving in St. Thomas. They could not find Billy’s body.

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1. Keanu Reeves

If you have made it through this list, then you might need a pick-me-up after the number one. Keanu Reeves has been the subject of multiple memes including “Sad Keanu,” but if you knew his personal life, you might think differently about making fun of his tragedy. Reeves is known as a reclusive star. He was good friends with River Phoenix and was crushed by his overdose in 1993. In 2000, Reeves and his then-girlfriend Jennifer Syme were preparing for the birth of their daughter Ava. However, at 8 months, Ava was delivered stillborn. While the grief proved too much for the relationship to handle, Jennifer and Keanu remained friends. However, a year later, Reeves would find out that Syme’s had also passed away. Unfortunately, Jennifer had lost control of her vehicle and was thrown from it, dying instantly. His sister Kim is currently battling leukemia.

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Fame 10 Staff

Fame 10 Staff